If you read my blog regularly or have read any of my interviews, you will know that as well as writing, I volunteer for the Gwent branch of Cats Protection. So, in the name of the season of good will, I thought I’d tell you about their good work, and leave you with a little something to think about.
Gwent Cats Protection do not have a centre for taking in unwanted cats, like the majority of Cats Protection branches in the UK. It relies solely on people like you and I opening our spare rooms to create foster homes for cats and kittens who have come into rescue. Very often these are pregnant cats, or those with new litters, who have simply been abandoned or have found themselves wandering the cold streets through no fault of their own. Sometimes they are older cats who have fallen out of favour, no longer kittens, or because they have complex conditions or injuries that require costly treatment. Sadly too, many cats come into our care simply because their owners have passed away, or because their owners’ circumstances have drastically changed, resulting in the difficult decision to rehome their pets.
Every day, our fosterers combine the challenge of holding down full time jobs, families and their own pets, with caring for these cats. They receive no financial compensation – they do it because it is the right thing to do.
It’s not just down to fosterers though. There are dozens of volunteers working tirelessly behind the scenes – from those collecting goods for our charity shops, to those who staff it, from the people constantly logged in to their phones and computers who patiently deal with Facebook queries, to those who man the telephone line. Then there are those who stand outside pet stores shaking collection tins, the people who turn up and man stalls at our bric a brac sales.
These are just the volunteers from our branch. There are hundreds of people volunteering across the UK for Cats Protection. Ladies and gentleman I love and respect you all.
There are many more volunteers in the UK and beyond, working for charities, doing fantastic work. Many of them won’t be enjoying a turkey dinner tomorrow, they’ll be working – for free.
But what’s this all about? Why the post?
Much as I would love everyone to say “WOW, aren’t all those people great?!” nothing says thank you like dollars in the waistband.
Every year, thousands of people will be in trouble this Christmas. People will go hungry. Animals left out will die of hyperthermia. The homeless will shelter for warmth in shop doorways. Children overseas will sit in camps overseas wondering where their next meal will come from. Poachers will destroy a little more of our glorious wildlife. Those with chronic conditions will have another day in pain. Our elderly will go another day without a visitor or a friendly face. Charities that work to deal with these issues needs our attention, our time and not least our money.
So, here’s the thing. Why don’t we all try to do something to help? Do it now.
Not everyone can volunteer, I get that. I also know that times are tough for most of us and budgets are tight. But if you care about something, then do something about it this Christmas. Donate to a charity. Even a small amount can make a huge difference. Give up your large latte for a day, or your Sunday newspaper – £3 believe it or not makes a big difference. Don’t buy your £3 meal deal for lunch, make your own sandwiches from all all that leftover turkey, and donate the money instead.
If nothing else, share this post. Pop next door to the elderly neighbour who is alone and ask them to join you for your Christmas meal. Drop them a slice of Christmas cake and stop for a cup of tea and a chat. Make sure they have money in the meter. Don’t walk past the homeless guy huddling in your office doorway, go take him for a hot meal – hell, just go and get him a McDonalds and a hot coffee. Tell people around you that Christmas is not about turkey and falling asleep in front of a film. Whether you are a person of faith, or just of family, it is the season of good will after all. Let’s share some.
If you would like to support Gwent Cats Protection, text GWCP49 £3 to 70070.
You can find out more about their work and other ways to donate here http://www.cats.org.uk/gwent-branch)
And here’s a selection of other charities you may also wish to consider donating to: